When Must Die Records wrote in to say that they were a small DIY label that usually dealt with ‘experimental/outsider music’, but that their latest release was ‘fuzzed out garage rock’, I had to at least have a quick listen.
When I saw that the band described themselves as ‘fuzzy scumbag rock’, things got even better.
According to their Youtube page, the Drop-Out Wives are “The best thing to come out of Bispham since Frasier’s dad. And no, I didn’t forget TVR cars.”
I’m willing to accept that this is the case – partly because I had to Google ‘Bispham’ to check it wasn’t just a typo. How the hell do you pronounce that anyway? It doesn’t look like a legitimate town name to me I’m afraid. Then again, I grew up in a place called Kirkintilloch.
I got my hands on a copy of their ‘are the reason you can’t have nice things‘ 6 track EP, and blasted through it a few times.
In places, the trio manage to press all the right buttons. Unashamed fuzziness isn’t something to be ashamed of, especially not when there are elements of the hallowed PRE in there – albeit a more swaggering, less frantic PRE – injected with the spirit of Courtney Love crossed with Jack Off Jill perhaps. (Oh God, what an unholy mixture).
Things go off piste for me where the sleaze-rock undertones push to the forefront. Lines on “God of Rock n’ Roll” about girls coming from all around and ‘keep their pussy tight’ may well be satirical, but I’ve been subjected to more than my fair share of nondescript, deadly serious, leather-clad acts who actually mean this stuff, and it doesn’t do much for me. Maybe this would have a place on a full length album, but on such a short release, and as the final song, it raises more questions than it answers.
That said, the tracks that really stand out are great. Bands in this sort of realm either fall into the trap of being too wrapped up in the ‘weirdness’ or hamming up the exaggerated ‘I don’t gie a fuck’ image, and forget to write interesting songs. That’s not a criticism that can be levelled at the likes of ‘Straight on Through’ which is in the video above though… I’ve had it on repeat for the past half hour. Punky, dirty, unapologetic, but slyly clever; by the time the ‘straight on through to the morning’ line gets repeated, I’m sold. More like this please.